The How and Why to Save for Retirement While Self-Employed

Are You Prepared?

If you didn’t know, JEG DESIGN INC. is a company owned and run by one man. And that man is Jonathan Gicewicz.  Recently, he brought up being self-employed and saving for retirement. I, of course, asked him if this was going to be his retirement announcement? And with a little “ya, I wish” behind his eyes, which we all have, he smirked and said, “I’m just seeing a lot of people I care about struggle right now, and it’s tough to watch.”

Now, neither he nor I are financial advisors. But we are small business owners/freelancers.  And we’ve felt firsthand what a tumultuous time it has been.  So what this piece is going to be is going to be is simply a reason why you need to play the long game with your livelihood.  And it’s from a lesson gleaned many years ago.

Jonathan Gicewicz graduated from Green Mountain College with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design – the school was happening due to its hippie style residing in the home of Phish. His degree was popular but not too popular. Today the school is shut down, and graphic design is one of the most saturated fields in America. 

It didn’t take Gicewicz long to realize he needed to pivot to web design in hopes of having some sort of sustainable career before he even got a chance to frame his diploma. And since doing so, JEG DESIGN INC. just entered its 22nd year. Gicewicz played that game of chess correctly. Seeing a couple moves ahead to create a thriving web AND graphic design company. 

Now, he feels like Bobby Fischer (sans anti-semitism) once again. He is needing to see a couple of moves ahead.  You see, Gicewicz has been heavily involved with the crypto/NFT market for the past couple of years (since COVID bored the shit out of him). But it also bored colleagues of his. And as you have just witnessed, that world is as volatile as Kanye with a bottle of Cognac and a cell phone. 

And it has wiped people out harder than Bodhi at the end of Point Break

Hence this blog. Gicewicz has busted his ass and seen where things can go if you don’t have a long game to protect you while you have a short game to play around with. Because, you know, life requires playtime.

So what we did was gather 4 ways to save for retirement if you’re self-employed:

  1. One-Participant 401(k)
    It’s a traditional 401(k) plan covering a business owner with no employees, or that person and his or her spouse. These plans have the same rules and requirements as any other 401(k) plan. LEARN MORE
  2. Traditional or Roth IRA
    The traditional IRA allows you to contribute a portion of pre-tax dollars. That reduces your taxable income for the year while setting aside the money for retirement. The taxes will be due as you withdraw the money.The Roth IRA allows you to contribute post-tax dollars. There are no immediate tax savings but once you retire the amount you paid in and the money it earns are tax-free. LEARN MORE
  3. Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)-IRA
    A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan provides business owners with a simplified method to contribute toward their employees’ retirement as well as their own retirement savings. Contributions are made to an Individual Retirement Account or Annuity (IRA) set up for each plan participant (a SEP-IRA). LEARN MORE
  4. Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA
    A SIMPLE IRA plan (Savings Incentive Match PLan for Employees) allows employees and employers to contribute to traditional IRAs set up for employees. It is ideally suited as a start-up retirement savings plan for small employers not currently sponsoring a retirement plan. LEARN MORE

As we noted earlier, please do not take this as any other than a self-employed/small business making suggestions. To stop worrying about today and start thinking about decades from now. By all means, make your money now. But as you do, realize, you’re not always going to be in a position to make that money. Put some away, let it grow, and then who knows – we may all get together to play a game of chess. And for the love of everything pure and holy, speak to a financial advisor.